SAC Tightens The Noose Around Taj

SAC Tightens The Noose Around Taj

7 December 2012
Greater Kashmir
Umer Maqbool

Srinagar: Troubles just don’t seem to end for the senior Congress leader and Minister for Public Health Engineering Taj Mohiuddin. A claim by the Minister that the State Accountability Commission (SAC) had given him a ‘clean- chit’ in the alleged forest land grab case has landed him in fresh trouble, with the anti-graft body Friday terming Taj’s assertion as ‘prima -facie false.’ The SAC also served a contempt notice to the minister asking him to appear in person before the Commission on December 17. Taj has been asked to explain as to why contempt proceedings shall not be initiated against him for making the false statement. A two member bench of the Commission after taking a serious note of Taj’s ‘false statement’ issued directions that a notice be issued to the minister asking him to appear in person before the anti-graft body to show cause as to why contempt proceedings shall not be started against him. “The office shall frame Robkar and issue notice to Taj Mohiuddin in terms of section 20 of the J&K Accountability Commission Act,” an order passed by Justice YP Nagrota and Justice Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain, reads. This is for the first time that the SAC, which is empowered to initiate contempt proceedings, has served contempt notice to a sitting minister in J&K since its establishment. Taj who has been in trouble over the past few months has been repeatedly claiming that State Vigilance Organization in 2011 and the SAC in 2005 ‘exonerated’ him of the charges of being in illegal possession of forest land in south Kashmir’s Shopain district. Earlier, coalition partners disbanded a panel constituted by the Upper House to probe the allegations. After going through reports submitted by its Jammu and Srinagar wings made it clear that no case relating to forest land grab involving Taj was disposed of by it in 2005, the SAC decided to initiate action against the minister. “From the reports, the statement made by cabinet minister Taj Mohiuddin, prima facie appears to be false which may amount to contempt of the Commission under the provisions of the J&K Contempt of Courts Act 1997,” the order reads. According to the order, after going through a newspaper report wherein Taj claimed that SAC had conveyed to the government that there is ‘no case’ of forest land grab against him, the Commission had sought reports from its Srinagar as well as well as Jammu wing to verify the claims. “The relevant records for September 20005 available in the Commission’s office at Srinagar have been checked and consequent upon, no matter pertaining to the subject cited above (i.e) issue of forest land grab grabbing by Taj Mohiuddin was found to have been disposed of by the Commission at its Srinagar wing as also reported by the office in this regard,” Deputy Registrar, Srinagar wing of SAC informed the Commission. As per directions, disposal of cases during September 2005 were searched and it has been found out that only two cases were disposed of -dismissed by the then chairman Justice RP Sethi during September 2005. These include Kuldeep Kumar Koul versus RA Qadri, Director Handicrafts and Munshi Ram Sharma versus Aurangzeb. “It is further submitted that no case regarding involvement of Taj Mohiuddin was disposed of during September 2005 by Hon’ble Commission at Jammu,” the Assistant Registrar, Jammu wing informed the Commission.